Story of Television, The
RCA's corporate history of pre-1956 developments in television.
Shows efforts of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in the creation, development and introduction of the all-electronic TV system; explains how science made television a working reality. David Sarnoff tells of the early research and experiments. Shown is the first successful picture tube, the first experimental TV station, the problems of improving piucture quality and reducing the size and cost of components at the transmitting and receiving ends, and the function of mobile units. Actual scenes from TV "firsts" are included -- President Roosevelt opening the 1939 New York World's Fair, the visit of the King and Queen of England, and the 1940 Republican Convention in Philadelphia. Animated diagrams demonstrate how a TV camera converts electronic beams into a picture.
Subject: RCA infomercial very interesting bit of geek history
Sarnoff loved being called "general" and Zworykin, as a loyal servant of RCA refers to Sarnoff as "general" during the dialogue between the two men, pretty funny.
Even though many others worked to invent television, and working models were demonstrated before RCA, Sarnoff used the 1939 Worlds Fair to introduce commercial television to the world.
Why is this same movie listed numerous times on Archive.org?
These two versions are 15 minutes long.
https://archive.org/details/Story_of_Television_The This one is 26 minutes includes color piece at end
Subject: US did not invent Television
Subject: Behind every great fortune is a crime...
Farnsworth. It took years of litigation before the courts recognized Farnsworth's claims. RCA's dishonesty would be repeated when it launched a campaign of falsehoods to discredit the CBS color system, which produced color pictures far superior to the RCA system. David Sarnoff was a duplicitous, nasty piece of work. Of course, RCA doesn't exist anymore and NBC is the least-watched TV network---so maybe there's justice after all....
Subject: (Up to 1956 that is)
The film is somewhat badly spliced but still somewhat interesting to watch.
Subject: What Color?
The previous comments about the content were accurate. RCA's policy was always to claim that it exclusively was responsible for the development of both monochrome and color TV. Never mind that RCA fought patent lawsuits with Philo Farnsworth for years (and lost some), and never mind that color TV was a development led by an industry committee. According to the General (Sarnoff), it was RCA and RCA alone. That's not to say that the company's contributions to monochrome and color were insignificant--quite the contrary--but there were others involved as well.
It appears that a fair-sized chunk is missing from this print in the World War II segment. Another copy on archives.org includes more footage of RCA's wartime activities. Unfortunately, the other copy is seriously truncated at both ends, and the quality of the print and transfer isn't as good as this one.
Other comments: Much of the footage of the World's Fair of 1939 and other very early TV was the same as RCA's 1939 "Presentation" film (also on this website). The narrator sounds very much like someone who was a staff announcer for NBC television for many years. That makes sense; use someone already on staff rather than hire a freelancer. I don't know this announcer's name, other than that it definitely was *not* Don Pardo (who was working for NBC at the time, and still does).
I'm withholding one star because of the missing footage. Perhaps some day a complete print will be found.
Subject: The Story of Television
David Sarnoff...is obviously reading his
lines...from cue cards.
In an explanation of how color television
works, mention is made of television's
three primary colors: red, blue, and
green. But the film's coloration leads you
to the conclusion that the real three
primary colors are brick red, washed-out
sky blue, and brown.
While extolling NBC's "Spectaculars", title
cards of the various productions are
shown. The title cards suddenly change
to titles of regular series for no good
reason, causing a series of highbrow
theatrical productions to be followed by
"Ding Dong School".
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***. Also available on VHS from Video Yesteryear.